Join our Mailing List

"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

China presses Dalai Lama ahead of Games

July 8, 2008

By Chris Buckley
July 7, 2008

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's stance on future talks with envoys of the
Dalai Lama rests on how he answers demands not to disrupt next
month's Beijing Olympics, an official said, highlighting intense
anxieties about the Games.

After secretive talks with representatives of the exiled Tibetan
Buddhist leader, Beijing said last week that more talks depended on
his preventing acts "sabotaging the Olympic Games".

China has accused the Dalai Lama's followers of seeking to derail the
Games by orchestrating unrest across Tibet in March and subsequent
protests that upset the Olympic torch relay in several countries. The
Dalai Lama has repeatedly denied the accusations.

But in an apparent bid to amplify Beijing's claims, a Chinese
Communist Party spokesman repeated the demands, the state-run Xinhua
news agency reported on Monday.

An unnamed spokesman for the Party's United Front Work Department,
which oversaw the talks, said the Buddhist leader must vow "not to
support activities to disturb the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games",
not support "violent criminal activities", not support efforts for
Tibetan independence, and curb the pro-independence Tibetan Youth Congress.

"If the Dalai Lama fails to meet such simple and rational demands, it
will be impossible to have the necessary atmosphere and conditions
for the next round of contacts," the spokesman said, according to Xinhua.

"The door for dialogue is always open and contacts will make positive
steps as long as the Dalai Lama meets words with actions and truly
follows the four 'not-supports'," the spokesman said, referring to
the vows Beijing has demanded.

The Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising
against Chinese rule, says he wants true autonomy for the mountain
region, but not outright independence. Beijing says his conditions
amount to a bid for independence.

The Chinese government has treated the Olympics as a historic
affirmation of the country's progress and stability. The Dalai Lama
has said he supports the Olympics and appealed to Tibetans not to
protest during the August 8-24 Games.

But Beijing puts protests over Tibet among its top security worries
at the Beijing Games.

The London-based Free Tibet Campaign will urge British athletes at
the Games to decry China's presence in Tibet by making a "T for
Tibet" hand gesture, the group said in an emailed statement.

The Xinhua report did not explain why the Party spokesman repeated
the demands now. But they come ahead of the Group of Eight summit in
Japan this week, where world leaders, including U.S. President George
W. Bush, may raise restive Tibet with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The Chinese spokesman said the envoys had "expressed acceptance" of
the demands. The "promises and positive response by the Dalai's side"
were an "important advance", he said.

But weekend comments from the envoy Lodi Gyari suggested the Dalai
Lama's negotiators were far from accepting the premises of China's demands.

Speaking in Dharamsala, the northern Indian site of the Tibetan
government-in-exile, Gyari said the talks were marked by personal
attacks on the Dalai Lama and it seemed China held them in a bid to
ensure no disruptions to the Games.

He also "categorically rejected" Chinese claims that the exiled
Tibetan Youth Congress engaged in "violent terror."

The two sides held an earlier round of talks in May, and the Dalai's
envoys said they expect another meeting in October.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
Developed by plank